Tweeted complaints not taken seriously, study finds
Twitter users overwhelmingly want their online complaints read and addressed by the companies and brands they deal with, with 83% of those whose tweets have been followed up saying they liked or even loved hearing back from the company concerned, according to a poll by Maritz Research and its social intelligence arm, Evolve24.
Social media has changed - if not revolutionised - they way in which consumers communicate with businesses. Instead of complaint letters being exchanged over several days or even weeks, a quick 140-character 'tweet' can often garner a direct response within a matter of a few minutes.
In fact, the poll found that frequent Twitter users who have used the social media tool to complain about their customer experience overwhelmingly want those companies to be listening to their comments - and these 'tweeple' (as Maritz nicknamed them) clearly want their public complaints addressed promptly.
According to the study, while only one third had actually received any kind of follow-up after they tweeted their complaint, 83% of those who had received a follow up to their tweet said they liked or loved hearing from the company they had complained about. And almost 75% of those who received a response said they were either very or somewhat satisfied with the response they had received (compared to only 15% who were either very or somewhat dissatisfied with the company's response).
For the two thirds of respondents who did not receive an answer to their complaint, a similar number (86%) said they would have liked or loved to hear from the company. However, nearly two thirds (63%) said that they would either hate it or not like it if the company contacted them about something other than their complaint instead.
"Social media is having a profound impact on the level of service that customers expect," said Anthony Sardella, senior vice president and managing director for Evolve24. "Businesses can't compete effectively without being tuned in to social media to help improve the customer experience, but they must get the messaging right. The best brand marketing provides responsive customer service, and does not use a customer experience event as an opportunity to sell something."
"While the study reinforced the trend of using Twitter as a way of getting a company's attention, all channels of customer service and support should be treated with the same consideration," Sardella concluded. "It's not a one-size-fits-all approach because consumers expect companies to understand their individual wants and needs. If that's responding to a complaint via Twitter, YouTube or the old-fashioned phone call, brands must have the right tools ready to listen, understand and respond."